Gap-phase dynamics in the old-growth forest of Lom, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Alessandra Bottero, Matteo Garbarino, Vojislav Dukic, Zoran Govedar, Emanuele Lingua, Thomas Nagel, Renzo Motta
2011 Silva Fennica  
Motta, R. 2011. Gapphase dynamics in the old-growth forest of Lom, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Silva Fennica 45(5): 875-887. We investigated forest canopy gaps in the mixed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), silver fir (Abies alba Miller), and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) old-growth forest of Lom in the Dinaric Mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gap size, age, gap fraction, gapmaker characteristics and the structure and composition of gapfillers were documented to investigate gap dynamics.
more » ... percentages of forest area in canopy and expanded gaps were 19% and 41%, respectively. The median canopy gap size was 77 m 2 , and ranged from 11 to 708 m 2 . Although there were many single tree-fall gaps, the majority had multiple gapmakers that were often in different stages of decay, suggesting gap expansion is important at the study site. Of the gapmakers recorded, 14% were uprooted stems, 60% snapped stems, and 26% were standing dead trees. Dendroecological analysis suggests that gap formation varied in time. The density of gapfillers was not correlated to gap size, and the species composition of gapfillers varied between seedling, sapling, and tree life stages. The results suggest that gaps are mainly formed by endogenous senescence of single canopy trees. Exogenous disturbance agents, most likely related to wind and snow, act mainly as secondary agents in breaking weakened trees and in expanding previously established gaps. Although the findings are partially consistent with other studies of gap disturbance processes in similar old-growth forests in central Europe, the observed gap dynamic places the Lom core area at the end of a gradient that ranges from forests controlled by very small-scale processes to those where large, stand replacing disturbances predominate.
doi:10.14214/sf.76 fatcat:f4awtqku4nhjtfkvlexrg54iqm